Presentation on theme: "Dr. Carla Di Giorgio January 9, 2009. Inclusion is The provision of educational services to students with a full range of abilities and disabilities in."— Presentation transcript:
Inclusion is The provision of educational services to students with a full range of abilities and disabilities in the general education classroom with appropriate in-class support. (Schroth, Moorman & Fullwood, 1997)
The significance of teacher attitude A critical variable in the success of managing children with special needs, to the life quality of people with disabilities And in the success or failure of the integration of disabled students into the regular classroom.
Teacher as mediator Teacher attitude (positive/negative) Teacher behavior (positive/negative) Child (low expectations, less positive attention) Peers School and community (home)
Inclusive teachers “don’t ask, ‘How does this student have to change in order to be a fourth grader?’, but ‘How do we have to change in order to offer full membership to our students with disabilities?’ (Burke & Sutherland, 2004)
How are inclusive attitudes formed? Self efficacy Teacher efficacy Pathognomonic vs. Interventionist approaches School cultures Personal experiences the overt problem is not usually ‘why’ but ‘how’. Attitudes-experiences-support-expectations Internal vs. External locus of control Ownership and responsibility; changing paradigms, without necessary supports Age not necessarily indicative of conservatism
Overarching research questions How do teachers’ attitudes toward students with exceptionalities affect their practice? How can teacher education programs (preservice and inservice) influence their attitudes and practices?
Today’s presentation Literature review Research findings with students Analysis of our program
Literature review: Factors affecting attitudes Experiences and knowledge of the disabled (interpersonal contact in addition to content knowledge) Willingness and capability Collaborative culture at school Intense training Student needs (behavior more negative than intellectual) Field experience (inservice vs. Preservice) Past education (eg master’s degree)
Factors cont’d Type of course, age, gender, language (EAL) and frequency of contact with people with disabilities Discomfort, sympathy, embarrassment, vulnerability Early positive exposure (ie preservice or earlier) Culture: secular beliefs re. the responsibility to teach all students Self efficacy declines over training and afterwards
Methodologies Questionnaires (Likert: amt, type of experience and attitudes) comparing inservice and preservice teachers Documentation and analysis of field experience analysis of journals, focus groups, interviews after coursework IDP scale (Interaction with disabled persons) *something to keep in mind is the potential difference between what teachers voice and what they do/think (public roles vs. internal narrative)
Findings Preservice teachers have more knowledge of disabilities than inservice teachers, more prepared, stronger belief that inclusion has a positive effect on students. Changes in student teachers’ attitudes minimal over the course of a one year’s training course (sympathy actually went down) Sympathy female and older, discomfort male and younger (business faculty) Vulnerability: what does this mean with regard to teaching students with disabilities?
Findings cont’d Classroom management and teacher instructional skills Support for special education placements Cultures with a stigma conceptualization of disability results in shame, fear of rejection by the community and tendency to keep the child at home, and more negative attitudes on the part of teachers Attitudes of special ed majors compared to generalists: are generalists less prepared to teach students with exceptionalities?
Implications Inadequate training for past student teachers Lack of support at the school level Inappropriate expectations in classroom composition Need to combine experience with updated knowledge Positive experiences lead to positive attitudes Need support from school leaders Reconcile standards based outcome expectations with inclusion and attention to individual needs
Implications cont’d Methodology of using different scales problematic: can’t compare samples between studies Is teacher efficacy about inclusion or much more? How to extract the inclusive piece, or not?
Issues for teaching students with exceptionalities Transition planning: future lives of students beyond school Secondary education School-based collaboration Skills such as leadership, public relations, change agent, collaboration, communication, and time management Learning in and outside of school
Solutions Merge special and regular education teaching into the whole B.Ed. Program Embed: learn about inclusive ed. practices while specializing in area of study, eg. Math. Dual certification: grade level and special education *Give as much attention to secondary as elementary Field study component, eg Campus Friends, interview community members Evaluate and explore efficacy throughout B.Ed. Program Cross-cultural studies
Solutions cont’d More simulation/role-playing activities (experiential learning) Specific topic project, eg Down’s syndrome
Parallel observations at UPEI Postgraduate program- too short to have impact with one course? Significance of specialization Age Gender Cohort Experience Efficacy decrease over program and after Issue of support and individuality of schools
Cont’d Cultural factors Influence of ACE program Lack of knowledge due to non-categorical system How to reconcile inclusion with ‘standards-based’ expectations Perceptions versus reality for teachers (ie will they always be negative when surveyed) Lack of equal gender representation in teachers Graduate work: all female
Cont’d Conflict between inclusion and special education options and resources Need strong mentors in schools for preservice teachers School cultures vs. Ideal models
UPEI study: Preservice teachers’ beliefs about inclusion Data was collected from: student journals from the 415: Inclusive Classroom course, 584: Collaboration and Leadership course, and 497 Practicum (specializing in resource placements): 2005-2007 Students voluntarily submitted journals for analysis once the course was over Themes were developed from reading the journals and noting commonalities and differences among comments Themes were also compared with those that arose in another study on students with disabilities, including students in our program and other students who want to be in our program.
Sample questions for journals: What does inclusion mean to you? How has your experience related to this, and what issues do you want to address in this course? How did today’s class activities relate to collaboration? How can they be used in schools? What is a challenge you found in your practicum with regard to inclusion? How do you think you will start to address it? Read case studies and respond. What would you do in this situation? What adaptations have you tried and how have they worked? How did the adaptations’ success depend on the teacher and/or the students’ strengths?
Cont’d How have transitions been handled in your education as a child/adolescent? What will you take to your teaching knowing what you know now after studying transition planning?
Sample class activities and assignments Simulations Role-playing Problem-based learning Case studies Reflection Team work Class discussion Video Resource access..
Findings from UPEI research Confirmation of personal experience affecting attitudes/practices Conflict between ideas learned in course vs. Reality in school/messages from staff Many students with exceptionalities in program (some do not pre-identify). What is the effect on teaching? Do we acknowledge this in our admissions process or our program teaching? Effect of age and gender
Techniques that work Personal narratives Further education Specific strategies, eg INCLUDE School-uni partnerships Providing options for students within inclusive schools Training for leaders Collaborative skills Cohort mixing Specific skills for grade levels
Cont’d Guest speakers Projects on subject area and other individually determined challenges Continuing education Research reading strategies, eg. Book reviews Field trips Cross-disciplinary discussion, eg. SLP, medical, psychology, EA, CYW, social work, transition planning, community groups, etc. Legal knowledge Integration of inclusive work within a broader base of teaching skill
Ideas for discussion... How do we build awareness of personal growth through continuous mentorship within the program over time? Should we have a specialization in inclusive education, with electives open to all students? Should we continue mixing cohorts? Should we distinguish knowledge of exceptionalities from application of teaching strategies (ie no choice, but one flows from the other) Should we incorporate more practical components (specialization and course projects)?
Ideas cont’d How do we teach future teachers to connect life goals to school career for students with exceptionalities? Should we develop policies for including students with exceptionalities into the B.Ed. Program? How do we address cultural influences in B.Ed. Students? Should we address personal goals more directly through the admissions process (in a way that gets to the heart of prospective students’ aims and beliefs about inclusion)? How can we better match/coordinate/lead partnership with the school system toward a smooth transition between uni and work for teachers?
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